Spookiest Online Threats To Look Out For This Halloween
Just as Halloween celebrations have changed over the years, so have the ghosts and ghouls that haunt us. While the Celts feared the disruptive presence of fairies and spirits, these days we’re more likely to concern ourselves with the threats that hang around the corners of cyberspace, prying on our online activities and endangering both our privacy and our vulnerability to hackers.
There are plenty of ghosts and demons, witches and evil spirits lurking in virtual reality but, fortunately, there are also a few friendly ghosts, like CyberGhost VPN, who are determined to protect people’s right to surf freely and anonymously, by providing high-grade VPN services.
Let’s take a look at the top spookiest online security threats skulking in cyberspace this Halloween.
Halloween’s Top 10 Scariest Online Security Threats
1. Wi-Fi Hotspots
Whether you’re at the mall looking for the perfect Halloween costume or stocking up ready for the inevitable Trick or Treaters, don’t forget about the ghosts that haunt pretty much every public Wi-Fi network in the world. You might be tempted to connect and get the benefits of free Wi-Fi, but, without a VPN, like ExpressVPN, to protect you, you might find yourself being the butt of a particularly unpleasant trick.
Just as sharing a swimming pool with hundreds of people exposes you to a greater risk of contracting a disease, so sharing a network with thousands of people makes you susceptible to cybersecurity breaches. With numerous VPN services now offering automatic connection as soon as it picks up on a public Wi-Fi signal, there’s no reason to be naked in public!
2. Identity Theft
It’s hard enough being yourself in day-to-day life but, in cyberspace, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to hold onto your own identity. Whether it’s the theft of your passwords, your financial data or your entire identity, it’s a crime that devastates millions of people each year and shows no sign of slowing down.
With over 791 million identities stolen in 2016 in the United States alone, identity theft is prevalent and can potentially cripple your credit rating. Protect yourself and be yourself, anonymously, by subscribing to one of these reviewed Identity Theft services this Halloween.
3. Protect your Financial Data
For most of us, online banking has become a way of life. In fact, if you popped into your local branch, they’d probably direct you to a computer terminal rather than a human being. Nevertheless, online banking doesn’t come without its drawbacks, the biggest of which is the potential for someone else to ferret your money away into cyberspace without you even noticing!
Any online financial transaction you make exposes you to hackers, and phishing, all of which could leave you with empty pockets. While banks and online stores continue to upgrade their systems, your financial data is your responsibility and, if you want to keep it that way, use an Antivirus with excellent privacy features, to disguise your online activities and make sure this isn’t the last Halloween that you can afford candy for the neighborhood children.
4. Troublesome Apps
There is so much you can do with a smartphone these days. While apps can be incredibly useful, they can also be scarier than a nightmare on Elm Street. Google Play has made accessibility easy but, in doing so, they’ve also broken down the best defenses, leaving the user wandering through a haunted house full of malware and spooky software.
If you’re a little bit worried about exposing yourself to cybersecurity threats via Android apps, then stop using Google Play. If you’re really worried about your security, then invest in an Android Antivirus and make sure those ghoulish viruses and nasty bugs stay well away from your precious smartphone. After all, how can you organize a Halloween party if your phone’s been hacked?
5. Cloud Calamities
Clouds in cyberspace give us greater versatility when it comes to the storage and sharing of documents and images. Unfortunately, as with public Wi-Fi, the more people sharing a space, the greater the risk of infection. You can hope that your anti-virus will protect you from any evil spirits lurking in your cloud storage, but unless you have a product that has launched additional capabilities to protect your cloud-based data, you are still unsafe.
While private individuals aren’t so dramatically affected by compromised cloud security, for those working from home, it can end up making millions of people vulnerable to hacks and reveal pages of sensitive information. Last year, team collaboration company Slack managed to prevent a serious security breach by patching its vulnerability and, in the 11th hour, preventing the attackers from gaining access to the chat histories and shared files of millions of users.
6. Car Hacking
Once a status symbol that many aspired to, a key fob that can unlock your car from a distance is increasingly becoming more of a hazard than a help. With technological advances enabling hackers to intercept the signal transmitted from key fob to vehicle, a relay attack could leave you stranded. Not only can the educated criminal unlock your car in this manner, but they can also start the engine and drive off.
Despite being on the increase, recent research indicates that few people are aware of the possible danger of car hacking, with 99% of Americans being completely unaware of the possibility of major digital hacking threats facing their vehicles this Halloween. Most of those don’t even know if they’re insured against such a risk.
Other digital car hacking risks include car tracking apps which, while designed to offer extra security, can fall into the wrong hands and be used to find and unlock your vehicle while you’re still busy at work and none the wiser.
7. Online Shopping
Did you know that online shopping can leave you exposed to the risk of theft? Not just theft of a few dollars either, but everything in your bank account. Once your credit card number is a hacker’s hands, it’s just a matter of time before your account balance shows zero. According to recent research, hackers are now so advanced, they can create an acceptable counterfeit credit card with your number on it so they won’t just spend your virtual dollars, but all the real ones as well.
Many VPN services, like Cyberghost, are capable of protecting you from such security risks, masking your real identity and financial data behind a ghostlike shroud of invisibility. Embrace the Halloween spirit and dress up as a ghost – at least in cyberspace. That way your financial data will be safe and you’ll be some way to being protected from other risks, such as receiving stolen goods or exposing yourself to spam.
8. Blogs and Social Media
Your friends have all got one, your mom’s got one, even your seven-year-old niece has got one, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. It seems everyone and their dog is writing blogs about themselves and their fascinating lives. The problem is, anything shared in a blog or on a social media platform is available to any random passerby and more than a few cybercriminals.
These risks may not seem serious… until they happen to you! Your blog could leave you open to cyberbullying, especially if you’re making controversial statements in it. Similarly, bloggers are also more liable to have their sites hacked and held to ransom.
Meanwhile, on the social media side of things, the recent debacle at Facebook is just one example of what can go wrong… and just how wrong it can go. Not only were millions of accounts hacked, once hacked, but the attackers could also gain access to Instagram and Spotify, to name just a few. Coming on the back of the Trump election scandal, Facebook’s woes are revealing to the world just how dangerous virtual reality can be.
9. Phishing Scams
While one would expect that phishing has been around long enough for most people to be both aware of it and capable of avoiding it, the technology surrounding it is becoming increasingly advanced, making phishing threats harder to identify.
Spoofing their identities in much the same way as VPNs do, but for much more nefarious reasons, phishers can pretend to be reputable organizations, like your bank or financial institution, in order to get you to part with sensitive information. A security suite like Norton may prevent all phishing attacks and will be able to detect the fake website before you have a chance to sell your soul to the highest bidder.
Over the past few years, we’ve become accustomed to warning about malware that’s bundled into a free downloadable app, but the designers of malware are getting increasingly clever – both in how they get the malware into your computer, and how it operates once it’s there.
In addition to getting infected through a purposeful download, malware designers are also using phishing methods to get you to click on a suspicious link that, rather than taking you to the special offer advertised, takes a detour to some unknown destination where you’re tricked into downloading malware.
Once inside your device, adaptive malware can actually asses the level of protection and security and adapt accordingly, keeping in the shadows of your PC or smartphone and causing havoc.
Just as Halloween costumes are becoming increasingly more imaginative than a witch’s hat or a sheet over the head, so cybersecurity issues are evolving, with hackers and other cybercriminals embracing the technology designed to keep them at bay. While you can choose to have an ostrich’s approach to the problem, it’s not going to go away so, rather than ignoring it, prepare for it.
A good VPN service can give you an extra layer of security, protecting your private information, giving you peace of mind while performing online financial transactions and protecting your online activities from prying eyes. With the Top VPN Deals For Black Friday & Cyber Monday being released any day now, you couldn’t choose a better time to increase your online security. So, stop worrying about tricks and treat yourself to one of the best VPNs this Halloween.